One out of every four dollars spent worldwide on light-emitting diode (LED) drivers in 2013 was used for lighting applications, illustrating the growing importance of illumination in the LED business, according to IHS Technology.
LED driver revenues from lighting applications last year totaled $305 million, representing 25 percent of the total driver market of $1.2 billion, as presented in the attached figure. The LED lighting market will continue to boom in the coming years, causing revenue for associated drivers to nearly triple to $893 million in 2019. This will amount to 43 percent of the $2.1 billion LED driver market.
“Lighting represents the fastest-growing segment of the LED market, and is accounting for a larger share of market revenue—as well as of overall driver sales,” said Jamie Fox, principal LED analyst for IHS.
The lighting segment mainly consists of lamps and luminaries, with flashlights, architectural illumination and other applications representing a smaller share of the market. Lamps accounted for most of the lighting units shipped in 2013, and for 50 percent—or $151 million—of the revenue for all lighting ICs. This share is set to increase.
The information in this release is derived from the report entitled “LED Driver ICs — World” from the Lighting & LEDs service at IHS.
Driving to growth
An LED driver is an integrated circuit (IC) that manages and controls the electrical current for an LED.
LED driver ICs play an important role in energy savings and are used to support most high-brightness LEDs. Drivers are regarded as an important, if not essential, feature in high-quality LED lighting products.
Beyond the lighting segment, there are also significant sales of driver ICs to diverse applications such as signage, mobile handsets, TVs, notebooks, monitors and tablets, as well as automotive applications.
Price pressure lightens up
LED drivers aren’t subject to the same brutal price erosion that’s impacting the LED market itself. As a result, LED driver revenue will rise by double-digit percentages in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Furthermore, unit sales of dimmable LED lamps are outgrowing those of non-dimmable lamps. The average price of drivers for non-dimmable lamps is much higher than dimmable lamps, helping maintain strong revenue growth.
Texas Instruments drives to the top
Texas Instruments maintained its position as the leading supplier of LED driver ICs in 2013, followed by STMicroelectronics.
In the signage segment of the market, Taiwan’s Macroblock remained the leader. Meanwhile, Western semiconductor giants played prominent roles in other segments, including companies such as On Semiconductor, Maxim, NXP, Skyworks, ams and Power Integrations.
While suppliers overall focus on different markets, most of the companies that are expected to continue growing will remain directed toward a lighting market that already accounts for a quarter of the total business, and will continue to grow as LED lamp sales increase rapidly during the next few years.